Phylicia Rashad (birth name: Phylicia Ayers-Allen) is the daughter of artist, poet, playwright, publisher and Pulitzer Prize nominee Vivian Elizabeth Ayers and dentist Arthur Allen, She has an older brother, Arthur Allen "Tex" Allen Jr. (born 1945), a jazz musician; a younger sister, Debbie Allen (born 1950), an actress, singer, dancer, choreographer, director, and producer; and a younger brother Hugh Allen, a real-estate banker in North Carolina.
Phylicia's father and her first husband were both dentists.
Phylicia Rashad and her sister Debbie Allen both speak Spanish fluently because they lived in Mexico during part of their childhood, where the family moved in an attempt to escape the pervasive racism that was prevalent in 1950s America.
Phylicia's second ex-husband, Victor Willis, was the lead singer of The Village People. They divorced in 1982.
Formerly sat on the Board of Directors of the Alliance Theatre Company (Atlanta, GA), the largest regional theater in the Southeastern United States.
Ahmad Rashad proposed to her on national TV during the halftime show of NBC's Thanksgiving Day broadcast of the game between the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets. Earlier in the day, she had worked NBC's Macy's Thanksgiving Day telecast. Within minutes of hearing Ahmad's request, she came onto NBC's "NFL Live" halftime set and accepted his proposal live on TV. O.J. Simpson was best man at her 1985 wedding to Ahmad Rashad and Bill Cosby walked her down the aisle.
Phylicia appears in the video introduction for the "Dinosaur" ride at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park.
Is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
Phylicia Rashad's The Cosby Show (1984) matriarch character, Clair Huxtable, was voted "TV mom closest to your own mom in spirit" by the survey participants in an April 2004 poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.
Phylicia Rashad's mother, Dr. Vivian Elizabeth Ayers, attended Brainerd Institute, Barber-Scotia College, and Bennett College of North Carolina. In 1952, Vivian was the first poet from the State of Texas to be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Vivian has often been called the "Poet Laureate of Texas." In the late 1950s, Vivian's poetry, "Hawk," attracted the attention of NASA, and for about twenty years thereafter was the only poetry celebrated by NASA. Vivian worked as an apprentice librarian at Rice University's Fondren Library and Vivian was accorded full faculty status in 1965, becoming the first African American to be recognized as a full member of faculty. During Vivian's years at Rice, she organized and published The Adept Quarterly, an important contribution to the small publications movement of the 1950s and 1960s.